Tag Archives: debate

Nestlé and BC Water: Why the Problem is Much Bigger than “Not Charging Enough”

When British Columbia residents heard that Nestlé was only being charged $2.25 per million litres to bottle up our water and sell it back to us, we were furious.

I, for one, wanted to do what this panda is doing.

We weren’t just angry because Nestlé has a terribly track record in their dealings with developing nations.

We weren’t just angry because B.C. is “renting out” access to our water for far less than other provinces.

We were angry because water is a part of B.C. culture. Continue reading

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Safe Spaces and Echo Chambers – Finding The Middle Ground

Today the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in all 50 states. Right now my Facebook feed is blowing up, with the vast majority of my online acquaintances rejoicing that a ruling that’s been a long time coming has finally passed. To sum it up in only eight short words:

abouttime

On the other side of things, though very few and far between, there is a sentiment in direct opposition. There weren’t many for me, but I think most people will find at least one status that falls roughly along these same lines:

turneditsback

The internet is never silent on the most innocuous of issues, and when it comes to an event as groundbreaking as this one there isn’t a person who can keep from putting in their two cents. As Kat observed last year the words we post online are made subject to scrutiny, with one of the tamest consequences being that someone will voice their disagreement. As another Facebook very wisely tacked on to the end of their status: “*If you do not support gay marriage, please do not respond to this post. This is a genuinely wonderful occasion for many that I love.”

This all connects back to a topic I’ve been meaning to cover for a while, which is the idea of “safe spaces”. It goes beyond simply wanting others to leave a Facebook status as a forum for positivity instead of debate to having a place where we can rest assured we won’t be outright attacked.  Continue reading

Killing the Death Penalty

In the final hours of September 21, 2011, the State of Georgia executed an innocent man. Troy Davis, born 1968, had been wrongfully convicted and subsequently murdered after spending nearly two decades in prison. In spite of cries of protest from former presidents, the director of the FBI, the pope and countless activists, Davis was killed for a crime he did not commit.

Such is our thirst for blood- and it is blood that we’re after.

Mel Gibson’s a racist lunatic, but this was a pretty dang cool movie…

We might dress it up as “justice” or a “deterrent” or any number of grotesque charades, but make no mistake, it is an emotional drive for vengeance that is overwhelmingly behind this. Christopher Hitchens, complicated man that he was, got it right when he called the death penalty “Human Sacrifice” in his 1997 debate on the subject.


We seem to have, as a society, a twisted sense of justice. We’re happy to serve up a person- any person- for slaughter to convince ourselves that justice as been done. Someone‘s got to pay when a crime is committed, whether or not that person actually did it seems of little consequence to us, as evidenced by the long and still-growing list of innocent men, women, and yes, even children who we’ve sacrificed for our appetites.

For this reason, today we’re going to be addressing the foundations of the arguments in favor of the death penalty. Continue reading

Cool It: A Documentary Review

So I watched this documentary last night:


Before watching Cool It I expected it to be just like Expelled, which, in my opinion, had a very strong right wing agenda I don’t want to imply that everything “right-wing” is innately propaganda, or that the left isn’t just as capable of creating its own propaganda, but I disliked Expelled‘s attempt to undermine evolution by framing all creationists as victims. So I wasn’t really watching this film with much of an open mind, but by the end was actually impressed. Just a heads up, from this point on there are spoilers galore. Continue reading

Culture War Correspondence: Evolution, Creation, and Debate

GORDON: Ladies and gentlemen, it has fallen to Kat and I to provide you with today’s topic. Some people would say we arrived at the topic gradually over time, making little changes along the way, others maintain it was created within seven minutes.

It’s evolution and creationism and the place of both in our society.

KAT: Exactly. So Gordon and I were tossing around some ideas for tonight’s CWC and arrived at this one. It was Gordon’s suggestion, so I thought maybe you (Gordon) wouldn’t mind describing why it came to mind.

GORDON: Well, it was posted in my Facebook feed that Bill Nye, acclaimed figure of the scientific community, will very shortly be debating creationist Ken Ham on the subject of creation vs. evolution. What really caught my attention though, and lead to me suggesting the topic, was that the person who had posted it was saying it was a shame that Bill Nye was doing this- that this debate would just legitimate something that had no standing.

Continue reading

Shame Day: The Abortion Debate

I’ve seen both sides of this debate.

I grew up in a devotedly pro-life home. I was taught pro-life apologetics and arguments (largely from books by Peter Kreeft [go read The Unaborted Socrates]). In spite of that, my study of the development of life and my debates with pro-choicers led me eventually to cross the line. I concluded that if personhood ends with the cessation of brain activity, surely it must begin with it as well.

All that’s to say I’ve had first hand experience with both sides of the highly contentious issue.

But I’m not here to talk about abortion. I’m hear to shine the spotlight on the supreme nitwits who scream the loudest from both sides of the argument. Let’s break it down here. Continue reading

Let’s Talk About Hypocrisy

Before I begin, I believe I ought to clarify something.

In this post, I’m going to be addressing the issues of hardship and tragedy and our responses to both of these things as a culture. Naturally none of this is meant to rob any gravity from Friday’s events- pain is, as always, pain. Any and all criticism here is directed strictly at hypocrisy, not sorrow.

There is a scene in season 2 of AMC’s hit series The Walking Dead, in which one of the group’s children goes missing and the other is [accidentally] shot and badly injured- both of which are bad things even without the ongoing zombie apocalypse. After managing to stabilize the boy, his mother begins questioning whether or not her son would be better off dead, rather than going on living the horrific and nightmarish existence life had become. Her exact words went as follows:

Why do we want Carl to live in this world? To have this life? So he can see more people torn apart in front of him? So he can be hungry and scared for however long he has before he…

So he can run and run and run and run and- and even if he survives he winds up- just another animal who doesn’t know anything other than survive…

Now whether or not you’re familiar with the series, this scene will still probably get a reaction out of you. Horror, perhaps, at how vile life must be for a mother to suggest her son dying would be a better alternative. Pity, maybe, for a person so driven and desperate.

Or, if you’re like me, utter indignant rage.

Let’s take a look at that soliloquy again. What’s the criteria this person puts on a life so awful it might as not be lived? Constant hunger, constant fear, and exposure to violence. In other words, the life of the majority of men, women, and children on this planet since the dawn of time.

You heard the lady- might as well just keel over.

And what’s her description of people who live this life? Oh, right- animals.

“And a very merry **** you to you as well”

What really gets me is that this (almost certainly) wasn’t meant to portray Lori as the vicious, self-pitying hypocrite that she came across as. Someone- nay, a whole line of writers and editors and censors- let that whole speech slide on the basis that it’d portray the character as sympathetic and troubled. And it’s this twisted attitude towards life that I want to address.

Early in the summer, I wrote a post on the need to portray graphic violence in media– especially in regards to war. I argued that our distance from the conflicts the US was engaged in made war too easy to ignore. The lack of the presence of violence, or our understanding of the consequences, made it all cheap and trite. Really this problem exists not only with violence, but with every aspect of our alienated society. We love beef, but how many of us could actually kill a cow? I’m not talking about hunting one down using nothing but a smooth rock, I’m just talking about simply ending one’s life. Could you do it? If not, I submit that you shouldn’t have a right to eat beef or wear leather.

Take a look at this cartoon.

Hard to argue with that, huh? Just as you shouldn’t be able to eat meat if you’re unwilling to kill the animal, you really shouldn’t be able to buy clothes and shoes unless you are personally willing to oversee the sweatshops in which they’re made. One way or another, you shouldn’t be able to reap the benefits of something without being at least capable of getting your hands dirty- and nowhere does that apply more than perhaps our government.

You might be familiar with the famous scene from Fahrenheit 9/11, in which Michael Moore attempts to pass out army recruitment flyers to members of congress (not surprisingly, most duck the offer). These people who were more than willing to send other people’s kids out to die in the desert suddenly found themselves far less eager when in the same situation- one congressmen protesting that his son had kids of his own (after all, all soldiers are childless and single).

And before any liberal readers get too smug, you’re far from exempt either. After the tragic mass murder in Newtown on Friday, I came back from work to find a letter in my inbox from a progressive organization I’ve signed petitions with before. “Act now!” they cried, “Demand gun control!”. This from the same people who bombarded me with pleas to re-elect President Obama, author and owner of a freaking “kill list“, to say nothing of his administration’s shoot-first-and-suppress-questions-later policy with drone strikes, and the “operation fast and furious” debacle.

Now all of this is just to demonstrate the social pathology this culture is suffering from.It’s not that we’re involved in countless injustices (that’s all bad in and of itself, but it’s not the point right here)- it’s that we have the gall to act hurt, or shocked, or horrified. Injustice is not greater for having finally happened to you. Pain and suffering don’t intensify based on their proximity to you. If you won’t cry out over the violence overseas, what right do you have to cry out over the violence at home? What right does a person have to feel depressed about cyber-bullying when he’s wearing a shirt made by an eight year old?  If you shrug your shoulders, stick your hands in your pocket, and walk off whistling when you’re told about homelessness in India, what right do you have to complain about mortgage payments in Indiana? Let’s cut the narcissism, shall we?